What a beautiful sunny day! Today, I can actually see the blue sky but I can’t say that the temperature has gotten that much warmer. I’m originally from Southern California, so I’m use to a lot of sunshine and living in flip-flops. But other than the colder climate, I haven’t had much difficulty adjusting to London. I’m a city girl so I love that every day and night there is something to do and see. And yes, London is a pricey city to be in, but there are plenty of cheap or free options around town!
If you’re coming here, my first tip is to sign up for the Londist’s emails. Everyday I get updates on what’s going on in the city for free or cheap. One of the best events I attended since being here was Burn’s Night (at the end of January)—an old Scottish celebration that involves lots of dancing—and it was free! I would say it is the equivalent to an American barn dance. Most museums are free to the public or students, so you should visit as many as you can. London is flooded with history and I am amazed by how much there is to learn and absorb here.
Oh, and you have to go to watch a few plays here. It’s a must! I’m from Los Angeles where movies are king, but theatre is king in London. There are countless shows going on at once. My personal favorite venue is National Theatre and if you line up early in the morning (it’s easier to get tickets on weekdays and you usually only have to turn up around 9:30 am) you can get theatre tickets for £5 – £12. Such a steal. My favorite shows so far have to be ‘The Magistrate,’ ‘The 39 Steps,’ ‘Kiss Me Kate,’ and ‘Macbeth.’ Theatre-going is actually a norm here in London and people have ice cream during intermission—there’s nothing stuffy about it!
And lastly food: it isn’t so bad! I’m a foodie, so I go out looking for good eateries and do a bit of research and I highly recommend the book eat.shop london. It’s a fantastic source for decently priced restaurants and cute shops. If a place looks a bit dodgy, maybe you should avoid it, but I’ve had pretty good experiences wherever I go. There are only a few restaurants near campus (The Gold Fryer and other kebab shops, Nandos, Subway, The Greedy Cow. etc), but I don’t frequently eat out so I can save up. I cook for myself or buy cheap sandwiches during the week and then treat myself on the weekends.
This is just a general overview on my experience so far living in London, but I’ll get into specifics in later posts.